Our Guinea experience! First of all, the people are amazing. They are so welcoming open and smiling, the first night we camped wild on our challenging road from Bissau . There passed a few people on a motorcycle waving us, few on foot. After a while 2 men on foot passed us, I put my hand in the air and said ‘bonjour’ I suppose they got interested, 2 ‘white’ people, 2 motorcycles and a tent. I told her there are 2 men coming to say hello, when they come close I see they where carrying a gun…. A bit different for us, we did see some people walking on the road already with guns, they are all for hunting but it’s still a bit weird to see. We shake their hands and we all smiled had a little conversation and everything was fine, they even invited us in their village to camp but for us this was fine we didn’t want to pack the tent and all other stuff again. When they left she told me she put her pepper spray in her pocket and her knife not realizing both men where carrying a gun with them. We laughed a lot about this haha. I regret we didn’t take a photo with them… We had a good and quiet night and got some energy to ride again for the next day.
Second night we camped wild again but didn’t see anyone around.
The third night was very interesting again, we decided we really need a bath so we needed a river next to our camping spot James was with us again from that day. I took a look on the map and found some small road to a river not to far away from the main road to Conakry (the capital of Guinea). When we got to the point there was a village, I told her to put the motorcycle down and we go together to ask permission to camp next to their village. We just stepped off the motorcycle and one woman came already walking towards us 2 men next to her with machetes (this is all normal around here to carry). We walked towards them said hello and smiled the women told the men quietly to put the machetes behind there back we where talking to the woman who was definitely in charge above them. She was very welcoming and we needed to go to say hello to her father who was chief of the village. We walked with her sit down with the chief, this was a old men with big Rayban sunglasses 🙂 we shook hands smiled and talked a little he was happy to let us stay next to his village.
So now it was time to put up our tent of course everyone from the village wanted to see us and we got a whole crowd to put up our tents, pretty funny but on the other side especially for her a bit bad to change clothes you can imagine that it’s not so nice to wear your motorcycle clothes when it’s 40 degrees Celsius. But we managed and after that it was time for our well-deserved bath in the river, we went together and James stayed with the motorcycles. Wow we where so happy with this bath, it was so refreshing after 3 days struggling on the road without a bath.
We had a really good night again and in the morning we had a crowd again to watch us packing the tent.
Today we try to go to Conakry, we had contact with a guy from Sierra Leone who was living in Conakry for his study through couch surfing, we could stay at his place and he wanted to show us around Conakry. When we got close to the city we phoned him and asked for his address, he told us it was not safe to enter Conakry today as there where riots going on in the city. This must have been the reason why the military on the road where a bit jumpy on the checkpoints so we needed a plan 2. We looked at ioverlander application and found a place next to the river for camping, our 4th day of wild camping but again we where able to take a nice bath and we washed our clothes here as well.
We took some time to search about the situation in Conakry and learned it was pretty serious, there where 7 people killed during the riots so we decided not to go to Conakry anymore this is not worth the risk for us. We called John (the local guy) the next day to tell him we where not coming anymore, he was a bit disappointed but could understand us. We moved towards Kindia, there was a camping site next to a waterfall, that sounded really good! We started the engine and went for it the roads in Guinea are not the best roads in the world and that’s a polite way to say haha. The road was just horrible to get there. The campsite had not a lot to offer, no shower, and no shadow so we took a look around and asked if we could put our tent up in the restaurant area what was full of shadow and they allowed us to. Ole!!
We had a good spot paying 5 euro per night and of course we had a waterfall next to us as well, we stayed here 3 nights to get a little rest. James was still with us, after Kindia he went North and we followed our way to the East.
The road was horrible again, the locals say the government is promising for 7 years now to rebuild the road but they don’t! She was feeling a bit sick so around mid-day we decided we can look for a hotel to stay with air-condition to get better, we found a place for 15 euro per night what looked really good, unfortunately the electricity wasn’t working to much so the night was pretty bad, not nice when you’re feeling sick. So we decided to leave in the moring.
We ride about 1 hour when she got worse and needed to throw up this was when we decided to take a malaria test (next time we will do it more soon), you can’t be careful enough with this so we went to a pharmacy took the test what was negative that was good we both could smile after that. We bought some paracetamol and stomach pills and got on our motorcycles to find a place to open the tent, this is just more nice because you have fresh air all night as it cools down a bit in the night.
We found a lot cashew trees together, opened our hammock and she passed out straight away, slept for a couple of hours while I was preparing dinner for us. In Guinea there is not a lot of choice but we had pasta, eggplant, tomato sauce, onions and garlic. It wasn’t the best meal ever but we ate it. At the end of the afternoon some children spotted us and where waving at us, we waved back and they came a little more close, the oldest one around 11 years old with a motorcycle! They looked a bit from far away so I said hello and asked their names but they where to scared to come any closer. Eventually they where shouting and trying to show something, we didn’t understand too much what they where meaning so I got out of the hammock and went to them, they had a bucket full of cashew fruits. Normally we love to pick our own fruits and eat them but this time I decided we can buy some off them, so we both got happy 🙂 the cashew fruits are giving a lot of juice so they are nice to eat.
When darkness came we opened our tent and went inside to protect ourselves from the mosquitoes. We still had a lot Guinean Francs with us and decided to count how much we had and take some funny photos, the biggest notes they have are 20.000 what is 2 euro. We only had notes of 5.000 and just changed a 100 euro so you can imagine how big the stack was. When we where taking the photos we hear some noise outside first I thought it where cows or goats but when listening better it sounded more like somebody was walking. So I opened the tent and said hello and shined with our flashlight we got response so I went out, the landowner just showed up after he see some light in the dark to look what was going on, we showed our motorcycles and tent and asked if it was ok to stay for the night, he gave us a big smile and was happy to let us camp on his land. It always feels a bit weird when someone comes in the night because it gets really dark here, there is no electricity so no lights around especially when there is no moon. We where happy to sleep in the tent again with the fresh air and had a good night.
We found some energy again and happy for us the road got better as well. We passed a lot of small villages, they all have cute little houses what interest us as well. After a while we stopped to take a photo, I told her go inside smile and ask if you can take a photo? She did and the house owner welcomed her with open arms and was truly happy we stopped at his house, he had some small land around as well, 5 children running around. They where eating peanuts, of course they offered her straight away as well, she ate them with a smile and send the children to me (I waited with the motorcycles) they came with a hand full of peanuts, so nice. I had some cookies in my tankbag and started to give them to the kids. I received some big big smiles here J The house owner came with a big bag of peanuts for us, he gave it with a huge smile on his face, I just love human behavior!
We had decided after she felt sick we want to go straight to Bamako and leave Guinea as soon as possible. Nothing bad about Guinea and I really would like to go back there 1 day during or at the end of the rain season. The country looks amazing but it’s bloody hard to travel by motorcycle, the roads are bad, the food is pretty minimum when you are not around Conakry, we just can’t live from bread, eggs, rice, onions and potatoes. And she was still not feeling good so we try to ride as far as possible every day early in the morning. The next day we made it to Kankan we found a (to expensive) nice hotel, the food they served was pretty good and they had electricity all night!
Good we found some energy for ourselves again, the next day we tried to get close to the border with Mali. We found a quiet place to camp and had a good night. In the morning we went towards the border. Our only problem was that our Mali visa didn’t start yet we supposed to enter after 5 days. But we decided to give it a shot and see what happens, we left Guinea pretty easy only got asked once if we had something for a custom officer who was hungry, I told him so am I. And I said I have a handshake for you, he smiled and let us go. I can’t blame the people for trying like this, if 1 out of 10 gives something they get happy. Now it was time to enter Mali, we talked a lot about what could happen as we don’t have a visa for Guinea anymore (this was only 1 enter) worst case would been we need to survive 3 nights between the border. The good thing is that there are a lot of shops so we can always buy something, we had 4 euro local money left what gave us to opportunity to buy water and bread to survive. Another decision we made that she was going to get our passports stamped, normally I always do that but maybe her smile was a better solution this time. She walked up to office what was really crowded but as always there are some officials sitting outside as well, here was one woman who looked at her, they crossed eyes, said hello and she gave her our passports. She went in, straight forward in the line and got them stamped in a second. I don’t think they looked at all to our visas. When she was waiting the other officials told her after stamp just go! Ole we made it into Mali before our visas started. Up to Bamako 🙂